Our team works with a range of partners to provide world-leading research and training to improve the environmental sustainability of plantation and orchard crop production systems. Come and talk to us to find out how we can help you.

What we do

Our group brings together expertise in crop, soil and water management, digital soil mapping and modelling, post-harvest technologies, and food system resilience, to deliver environmental solutions for plantation and orchard crop production.

We deliver practical solutions that help both smallholder farmers and larger companies implement sustainable practices that ensure positive economic and social benefits at a local level. We work flexibly delivering projects of various sizes to meet the needs of our clients. Our work is global, ranging from supporting irrigation management for Colombian banana production, to monitoring tea plantations in Kenya using remote sensing, to improving apple quality in the UK.

Our experience includes:

Crop, soil and water management

  • Irrigation management for improved water use;
  • Fertiliser and residue management (including circular economic approaches);
  • Improving soil health and conservation, and minimising erosion;
  • Delivering net zero greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing carbon sequestration.

Digital soil mapping and modelling

  • Digital mapping and monitoring of soils, harvests and water use;
  • Life cycle assessments;
  • Digital technologies for management;
  • Integrated crop models.


  • Improving food nutritional content;
  • Reducing food waste;
  • Mycotoxin contamination.

Food system resilience

  • Food security scenarios;
  • Analysing changing regulatory frameworks;
  • Identifying emerging technologies, trends and solutions.

Our impact

We have worked with over 20 partners delivering applied solutions to real-world challenges. We are active in sharing our knowledge across our researcher - practitioner - policy maker networks. Publications from our recent projects include new irrigation schedules that improve smallholders’ banana management practices in Colombia, applying machine learning methods to profile apple cultivars, assessing alternative cropping practices and circular economic approaches in palm oil plantations, and remote tea harvest monitoring. Read our case studies or contact us to find out more.

Our facilities

Cranfield has invested substantially in a range of facilities that provide us with unique capabilities to address real-world sustainability challenges in plantation and orchard crop production. Our capabilities range from a suite of analytical tools for assessing soil and crop health, and instruments for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions, to post-harvest facilities. We are also home to the World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC) and two agricultural innovation centres: the Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (AgriEPI) and Crop Health and Protection (CHAP).